Changes to the UK Immigration Rules from 11 January 2018

New Statement of changes was passed to the Parliament on the 7th of December 2017. These changes will come into force from 11th of January 2018.

Summary of Changes:

  • The introduction of an electronic entry clearance visa to replace a physical vignette in the passport;
  • Flexibility for Tier 4 students switching to Tier 2 sponsorship; and
  • A new requirement for PBS dependants to not spend more than 180 days in any 12-month period outside the United Kingdom in order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Changes in Detail:

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent).

The number of available endorsements will double from 1,000 to 2,000 places per year. There will be a pool of not allocated places distributed to five Designated Competent Bodies (DCBs),which can be drawn on by any of the five bodies on a first-come-first-serve basis.Furthermore, Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa holders who are classed as “world leaders” in their field may be able to qualify for accelerated settlement after three years of continuous residence, instead of five years. As a result of the changes, this category, while relatively limited in its application, could potentially offer another immigration option for very highly-skilled migrants working in specific industries.

  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).

The applicants will no longer be able to rely on funds or investment that have been provided by another Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, or that migrant’s business or close family member. The interpretation of a “close family member” will depend on the facts of the case.This to prevent misuse of the route by recycling of funds.Changes to the job creation rules for extension and settlement applications will be implemented to enable applicants to apply even if their current leave was granted less than 12 months ago. However, in such cases, the jobs must have existed for at least 12 months before the date of the current application.

Applicants relying on investment from a venture capital firm will now be required to also provide a letter from the firm confirming the date(s) the funds were transferred to the applicant or invested in their business and that the firm was registered with the Financial Conduct Authority at the time. This requirement is added to counter ongoing abuse relating to venture capital funding.

  • Tier 2 (General).

The UK government is welcoming researchers into the United Kingdom. Exemption from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) will be applied to researchers who are recipients of supernumerary research awards and fellowships and for established research team members sponsored by either a Higher Education Institution or a Research Council.

  • Tier 4 Students switching to Tier 2.

Tier 4 students who have successfully passed their course in the United Kingdom are typically able to switch to Tier 2 sponsorship without the Sponsor being required to undertake the RLMT. From January 11, 2018, United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will apply some welcome flexibility, in that Tier 4 students will no longer be required to pass their course before being able to switch to Tier 2. Instead, the requirement will be that they have completed their course and are able to evidence this.This in theory should allow students to apply for their Tier 2 visas much more quickly, without having to wait for their exam results.

  • Tier 4 students studying part-time.

Tier 4 (General) Students can now apply to study a part-time course under their Tier 4 visa as long as the course is studied at an academic level over Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 11 or Regulated Qualifications Framework level 7. Part-time students will not, however, be able to:

  • Extend their leave in the United Kingdom under the new Tier 4 rules;
  • Bring family members into the United Kingdom as a dependant under their visa;
  • Work during their studies; or
  • Switch visa categories in country.
  • Tier 5.

The annual quota of places available under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) has been updated.There is a slight reduction in the number places available for Australia Nationals from 35,500 to 34,000.There is an increase of 1,000 places from 13,000 to 14,000 for New Zealand.There is also a small increase from 5,500 places for Canada to 6,000.

  • PBS Dependants.

Dependants of PBS migrants (including Tier 2) have not historically been subject to the absences requirement (i.e. spending no more than 180 days per year outside of the United Kingdom) when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The new Immigration Rules confirm, however, that dependants of PBS migrants who make any visa application (including an extension application) on or after January 11, 2018 will need to ensure they are not away from the United Kingdom more than 180 days during any 12-month period from that point onwards. This is a significant departure from the existing provisions. Businesses may wish to establish whether this could affect its PBS population whose family members do not regularly reside in the United Kingdom.

PBS dependants submitting an application on or after January 11, 2018 will have to prove to the UKVI that their relationship to the main applicant is both subsisting and genuine. Previously, there was no requirement to evidence that the relationship was genuine.

  • Visitors 

From 11 January 2018, visitors who hold a standard or marriage/civil partnership visit visa will be allowed to transit the UK without the need to obtain a separate transit visa.There is also clarification that visitors are not permitted to study at an academy or a school maintained by a Local Authority.

  • Electronic entry clearance 

A new electronic entry clearance system is being rolled out from 2018. Individuals with electronic clearance will only have to present their passport or identity documents at the UK border for the Immigration Officer to check electronically for entry clearance. Electronic entry clearance will be trialled initially with a pilot group, ahead of wider implementation.

If you have a question about how the changes affect you or your organisation, please contact us. Our team of UK immigration law experts are on hand to answer your queries.

The full statement of changes in Immigration Rules can be found at HC309

46 thoughts on “Changes to the UK Immigration Rules from 11 January 2018

  1. Ginni Reply

    hello my name is ginni dhingra am on tier 4 visa . my course is done Msc supply chain from middlesex university. am looking for visa extension

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Ginni, Please contact us to discuss further about your visa extension – Ph: 020 3695 4626.

  2. Nishant Reply

    Hi,
    At present I am on student visa tier-4 and studying in DE MONT-FORT UNIVERSITY (LEICESTER), its my first semester. I want to know how these new rules effect on me? And what if I will not get internship?

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Nishant, under the new rules, you would be able to apply for Tier 2 (under a licensed Employer) further to your course completion rather than awaiting the results for the course. This will just speed up the process of your employment. With regards to your internship, you may be able to apply under Tier 5 GAE scheme. Please visit citylegalservices.co.uk/tier5gae for more details.

  3. David macfoy Reply

    I literally just finished my masters and my tier 4 visa is still valid till the end of January. Can I still apply to the new tier 2 without sponsorship visa by January 11?

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi David, You would still require a Tier 2 Sponsorship. The rules are only relaxed in terms of completing the course and not awaiting the results to apply for Tier 2.

  4. Chioma Obi Reply

    Hi, my name is Obi Chioma. I just completed my Msc and my visa will expire by 1st week of February. Under the new rule can i apply for a post study visa extension? If yes, how will it be done.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Obi, Under the new rules you will be able to apply for Tier 2 further to being offered a Job by a Licensed Employer and completion of your course rather than passing the MSc/Awaiting results.

  5. Manoj Reply

    Hi, i’m manoj. I got my Tier 4(General, PBS) visa approved recently and my date of journey is on January 12th 2018. Will there be any problem with the new immigration rules i.e. with “new electronic entry clearance system which is being rolled out from January 11th 2018”.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Manoj, The government intends to trial the issuance of entry clearance in electronic form and has therefore made changes to the rules concerning the format in which an entry clearance is issued. Assuming the trial is successful, entry clearance issued in an electronic form will be rolled out at a later date. In future, applicants in possession of an entry clearance issued in electronic form will therefore not be required to present such an entry clearance to an Immigration Officer on arrival in the UK as the information will be accessible online. I am assuming your entry clearance will be under the old format/rules and should not have any issues at the point of entry.

  6. FAISAL Reply

    Hello,

    I was a student of university of Chester , I completed my course on 2016 March , and I applied flro before my visa expires and the flro got refused on August 3 and I re applied again …. that also refused … I applied for 3 rd time and before the decision from the home office I left the country ….. now my wife is going to uk for her masters . My question is is there any chance of refusal if I applied for my wife’s dependant …

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Faisal, Considering your previous immigration history, it is likely that the Entry Clearance Officer will have doubts whether you will return to your home country further to your wife’s studies. Good luck with your application.

  7. Martin Reply

    Hi Sir
    I am currently doing my Master’s in International Business Law with Tier 4 visa ,planning to switch tier 2 ,and my course completion will be in June 2018 and my visa ends in August 2018 . Please advice me the best time to apply for the Tier 2. Thanks in advance.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Martin, According to the new rules, you may apply anytime after completing your course, having sat all exams and presented all academic papers.

  8. Jennifer Reply

    Hello there,
    I have completed my masters course in September and I have my final results. Do I just need to provide the UKVI with a completion letter? I have a sponsor and they will assign my CoS after Jan, 11. My visa ends at the end of January, will I be okay with time?

    Thanks so much,

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Jennifer,

      The requirements in relation to your qualification are as below.

      The applicant must have completed:

      (1) a course leading to a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree (not a qualification of equivalent level which is not a degree),
      (2) a course leading to a UK Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (not a qualification of equivalent level), or
      (3) a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD.

      You are then required to obtain a Degree Certificate or an Academic Reference stating
      (1) The applicant’s name,
      (2) the course title/award,
      (3) the course duration (except in the case of a degree certificate), and the date you completed the course, having sat all exams and presented all academic papers (or the date of award in the case of a degree certificate)

      You have to meet other eligibility requirements. Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a further consultation.

  9. Ash Reply

    Hi,

    A friend on mine from India completed her Masters from a University on the licensed tier 4 sponsored list and graduated in November 2017.

    She now has only 1 month left on her Student Visa until it expires in February 2018, can She somehow take advantage of this change in immigration rules in oder to extend her Visa whilst She tries to find a job in her field?

    Thanks in advance for your time with this matter.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Ash, please my responses to other queries. The new rules does not bring any Post Study options, but simplify some requirements.

  10. Jolly Reply

    Hello! Thanks for this great information. My name is jolly, I just graduated from Northumbria university in November 2017 and my tier 4 visa runs till March 2018. Will I be able to switch to the tier 2 visa for post study student work visa? Thanks in anticipation for your response.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Jolly, please my responses to other queries. The new rules does not bring any Post Study options, but simplify some requirements.

  11. Promise okomoh Reply

    Hi, my name is Promise , currently on tier4 visa, and my dad is EU citizen .My question is, can I apply for visa extention through my dad’s status or apply for visa extention base on the new rules?

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Promise, you may apply under either of the options. If you want to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2, you require a sponsor. Also it’s worth noting that applying under the EU option, if you are above 21yrs, you may have to prove further dependency etc. Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a further consultation.

  12. Kuldeep Singh Reply

    Hello I’m Kuldeep i have compited my level 7 diploma in enterprise management with University College of Birmingham recently, is this new rule will effect me ?

  13. Asima Reply

    Hi. I am a PhD student at the University of Warwick. I would like to know how the new rules will apply to me. My PhD is going to be complete in March 2018. What duration of a post-study visa can PhD students get after they finish their PhDs?

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Asima, There are various options available for students undertaking PhD like Doctorate Extension Scheme or Tier 2.

  14. Abbas Jamali Reply

    Hello,
    I just completed my master from Brunel University London. I’m here in the UK on a student visa (Tier 4) which will be expired January 22. I was wondering under the new rule and only 10 days left, is there any chance to stay here? If yes, how will it be done. tnx

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Abbas, you may apply for post study work options like Tier 2 or Tier 5 provided you have a Sponsorship. The new rules itself doesn’t bring any thing more other than you can apply further to course completion rather than awaiting for Degree Pass results.

  15. ashwathy Reply

    hi i am ashwathy i am currently on a tier 4 visa which will expire on 6th of feb. i am a qualified nurse in uk with a sponsor who has already issued a cos for me. i came to uk in a masters course in public health, but since i didn’t submit the final project, i will be awarded only a post graduate diploma, with regards to the new immigration rules will i be able to change my visa.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Ashwathy, this is a very interesting question and a weird situation to be in.

      The requirements in relation to your qualification are as below.

      The applicant must have completed:

      (1) a course leading to a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree (not a qualification of equivalent level which is not a degree),
      (2) a course leading to a UK Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (not a qualification of equivalent level), or
      (3) a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD.

      You are then required to obtain an Academic Reference stating
      (1) The applicant’s name,
      (2) the course title/award,
      (3) the course duration (except in the case of a degree certificate), and the date you completed the course, having sat all exams and presented all academic papers (or the date of award in the case of a degree certificate)

      I believe it is unlikely for your University to provide you this Reference stating that you have completed a Master’s Degree, when you have only got a PG Diploma. But its worth a try and if you are in possession of this reference (confirming the Master’s Degree completion), according to the immigration rules, you will be eligible. Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a further consultation.

  16. Annie Reply

    Hi there,

    So according to new immigration rules for Tier 4 (Gen) students, there is no need of sponsor ? or still the students would need a licensed sponsor to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2?

    Many thanks

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Annie, You are required to have a Tier 2 Sponsor and meet all other eligibility requirements.

  17. Hamid Unais Reply

    Hi, just came across this update it, thanks for explaining the details clearly.

    I still have a query though, I have completed my MSc back in September 2017,
    but have been referred to resubmit my dissertation by end of February, 2018.

    My Tier 4 Visa is expiring by 30, January, 2018.

    I am doing an internship with a company who are an A-list Tier 2 to sponsor, and the Employer is happy provide me a work permit.

    But considering that even though I have completed the course, I still haven’t passed MSc as yet.
    Under these circumstances, would I be eligible to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 under the new effective from 11th January 2018 (today)?

    Please help me with the query as early as possible.

    Thanks in advance,

    Hamid

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Hamid, This is an interesting question. Under the new rules, you must have completed your degree to be eligible to apply for Tier 2. You are required to provide an original degree certificate, academic transcript or an academic reference on official headed paper of the institution, which clearly shows:

      (1) The applicant’s name,
      (2) the course title/award,
      (3) the course duration (except in the case of a degree certificate), and
      (4) the date they completed the course, having sat all exams and presented all academic papers (or the date of award in the case of a degree certificate), unless they are studying a PhD course in which case confirmation of 12 months study is required.

      As you can see on Point (4) above, you are required to have sat all exams and presented all academic papers. In this situation, I believe that your University is unlikely to issue the Academic Reference as required (unless they have a different policy) and if you are not in possession of this academic reference, you will not be eligible to switch to Tier 2. I am not sure of your Immigration history or any previous qualifications etc. Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a further consultation.

  18. Alex Reply

    Hi ,
    I have been UK for past five years with tier ICT visa and i have valid visa for another one year. Could you please let me know is there any option to get ILR.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Alex, I would need to know more details about your ICT visa. The category, date of grant, date of entry etc to see whether you will be able to apply for ILR. There have been various changes on 2010 and 2011 regarding the ICT category and any one entered after that period is unlikely to qualify. Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a further consultation.

  19. Sarah Awe Reply

    Hi, I completed my MSc program in the UK 7months ago and had returned to my home country. Can i apply for the tier 2 program from my country.

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Sarah, you will be able to apply for Tier 2 from your home country. You would require a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer based in the UK registered and licensed as a Tier 2 Sponsor as well as meeting other eligibility criteria. The new rules itself does not bring anything to your advantage. You may want to look into alternate options like Tier 5 GAE – Please visit citylegalservices.co.uk/tier5gae for more details.

  20. Jignesh Gohil Reply

    Hello,

    I am a student at Newcastle University and my visa going to expire on 26th Jan 2018. Am I eligible to apply for this new visa rule?

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Jignesh, You will be able to switch into Tier 2 upon completion of your course rather than awaiting for PASS results. But you must meet all requirements of Tier 2 including having a Sponsorship from Tier 2 Licensed Employer. However you may be able to look into alternate options like Tier 5 GAE – Please visit citylegalservices.co.uk/tier5gae for more details.

  21. Leighton Sharpe Reply

    Hi there,
    My partner and I are applying next week (January 17th) via the premium service to extend our current ancestry VISA – we will be using the application FLR (IR). He has ancestry Via his english grandparents and I am his spouse (dependent). Will any of the new changes affect our VISA? It seems its only those applying for ILR but thought I would ask. We feel quite confident with our application but there seems to be constant changes.
    Your advice would be most welcomed 🙂

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Leighton, I haven’t come across any changes that may affect your extension of Ancestry Visa. But if you want me to look over the file before your appointment, I will be happy to do so. Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a consultation. Otherwise good luck with your appointment on 17th.

  22. Vinti Shahani Reply

    Hello Adarsh,

    I am currently on a Tier 4 Student Visa which expires in the first week of Feb. I graduated in December 2017 and was wondering if I am eligible to shift to a Tier 2 visa under the new immigration rules ?

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Vinti, Based on your circumstance; as you have graduated already in December 2017 the new rules does not bring anything more on the table. If you meet other eligibility criteria like being sponsored by a Tier 2 Licensed Employer & have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in an eligible position with required salary, Have necessary Maintenance funds etc you will be able to switch into Tier 2. Please give us a call to discuss more.

  23. Ruth Gyereh Reply

    Just completed my masters in Biomedical science. Passed all modules and dissertation and graduated. I was offered a job with the NHS as a Medical Laboratory Assistant. Now, to apply for a visa to switch to tier 2, i needed a certificate of sponsorship and my HR says they cannot give me one because the certificate of sponsorship does not cover the position offered to me, ONLY for a higher band.
    But I was a registered Biomedical Scientist (Band 6) in my country and because i do not have the UK experience, i was given a lower band instead of a Biomedical Scientist Band5 or 6 ( which is sponsored). Hence, i intended to get registered in the Uk once i obtain a tier 2 visa.
    But sadly, the opportunity slips by as HR cannot issue me a certificate of sponsorship. Besides, my visa expires next month.please, can i get some advice?
    By the way,
    I don’t intend to over stay anyway!

    • Adarsh Girijadevi Post authorReply

      Hi Ruth, I am sorry to hear what happened. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I am hearing this.Please give us a call on 020 3695 4626 or book an appointment online at citylegalservices.co.uk/appointments for a consultation.

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